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7 Ben Carson Facts That May Surprise You

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As Donald Trump preps for the GOP presidential debate tonight, there is no doubt he has one particular goal in mind: bring down Ben Carson. After all, the surgeon-turned-politician was the challenger to finally unseat the longtime frontrunner. Much to the surprise of many, the soft-spoken Carson has taken the lead in four polls in recent weeks. "I don't get it," Trump marveled. But there is a lot more to the pediatric neurosurgeon than meets the eye. He's a pretty fascinating guy. Take a look at these fun (and surprising) facts about Dr. Carson.

  1. He was the first surgeon to successfully separate conjoined twins at the head in 1987. It was an extremely risky and dangerous 22-hour surgery and his work paved the way for future attempts.
  2. Before he was the mild-mannered doctor we know today, Carson had what can best be described as anger issues. As a small child, his raging temper got him into serious trouble . Once, he tried to hit his mother with a hammer after she disagreed with his clothing choice. In another instance, he gave a classmate a head injury in an argument over a locker. His final outburst occurred when he attempted to stab a friend during a dispute over choice of radio stations. Fortunately, the blade broke in the belt buckle. Though Carson didn't know it at the time and ran home and locked himself in the bathroom with a Bible and started praying to God to help him control his temper. It was a life-changing moment.
  3. His mother Sonya required her boys to read two library books every week and submit reports to her. With little education herself, she couldn't read the work, but her kids never knew because she graded them with check marks.
  4. There was a made-for-televison movie about his life called "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story." The 2009 film starred Oscar winner Cuba Gooding, Jr.
  5. Carson is a cancer survivor. He found out he was stricken with an aggressive form of prostate cancer in the middle of a surgery on a child. "I have the ability to put things out of my mind, so I just put it out of my mind and finished the operation," he once said. "But certainly, you know, that evening it did weigh heavily upon me as I began to realize that wow, I have cancer. The thing that bothered me was the fact that I would be leaving so many people behind." He now credits the experience with helping him better treat his own patients.
  6. He has received more than 40 honorary doctorate degrees and President George W. Bush gave him the Presidential Medal of Honor, which is the highest honor a civilian can receive.
  7. Carson was once a costar of A-lister Matt Damon in the big screen comedy "Stuck on You."
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